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Kathleen Oswalt | March 26, 2020

It’s Trimarni triathlon camp day #3! And what a full day Friday was. But before I get into all of that I thought I’d start by sharing a little story with you.

Once upon a time there was a girl (ummm, yeah that might be me I’m talking about) and she had no idea how to cook. It was so bad, one time when she was visiting her father and stepmother she was asked to put hotdogs in the pan and heat them up. She did…still in the package. Yowza! I couldn’t even figure out hotdogs.

How things have changed. Wow! 

Being in the kitchen with my family isn’t something I have any memory of. So I’m going to say, it wasn’t something I did often. Way back then cooking wasn’t an interest of mine and really didn’t seem important. 

That all started to change after I graduated from college with my nutrition degree and went on to become a registered dietitian. Over the years I’ve worked to constantly learn and improve the way I eat. I’ve learned so much over the years. I have come to understand how having cooking skills, even if they’re minimal can help you take your health to the next level.

And for you the triathlete, cooking skills can also help you nourish and fuel your athlete body in a much better way helping your performance and recovery.

Every now and then it’s important to look back over the years and acknowledge the journey. The accomplishments, the improvements, the gains. 

Do you do this? Do you ever look back at your triathlete journey? Are there some stories you could tell that are as embarrassing as my hotdog story? But I guarantee that you also have some great stories of accomplishment that you could share just like I’ve been sharing my accomplishments at triathlon camp with you.

Reminisce a little today about YOUR journey!

Day #3 Trimarni Triathlon Camp: Friday the 13th

Based on the previous day and a half my biggest decision moving into Friday was trying to figure out how much food to prepare for the triathletes brunch/lunch. I was planning on making Marni’s Baked Blueberry Oatmeal (which you can find in her Book Essential Sports Nutrition), but only one pan. 

As Don and I laid in bed Thursday evening we went back and forth…maybe two pans, no maybe three. We finally decided three pans of baked blueberry oatmeal would be safe.

The athletes were in for a treat today; a HILLY 2.5 hour ride followed by a 20-30 minute run off the bike. 

As soon as the athletes left I got to work. The schedule for the day changed up a bit. Instead of coming back and eating between 12:30-1pm, athletes wouldn’t come back to the camp house until close to 3pm. I knew I had to not only prepare food for a late lunch but also dinner.

My thought was with all the workouts, by mid-day Friday their appetites would be growing and they would be eating EVEN MORE food.

 photo of triathletes cycling

photo of triathletes petting donkey's and getting ready to run

Performance Nutrition for Triathlon Camp

Brunch/Lunch NOW a Late Lunch – 3pm

 

  • Sandwich bar & Boca burgers
  • Baked Blueberry Oatmeal  
  • Yogurts
  • Hard boiled eggs

First, I had to get the baked blueberry oatmeal prepared and baked. Remember, I was making 3 pans. So this would take some time. I also had to boil and peel MORE eggs. Ohhh, and I decided to bake some banana chocolate chip cookies, because you know, I just didn’t have enough to do in the kitchen today.

  Banana chocolate chip cookies

I looked ahead to dinner. Friday night was a pre-race dinner (unfortunately, the race was cancelled BUT dinner wasn’t), so I needed to wash and prep 24 sweet potatoes to cook later and I needed to work on the ingredients for the pasta dinner. 

I wasn’t making just plain ol’ pasta with tomato sauce, I wanted to make something that was light but also had some veggies so I decided on Nostrana’s Pasta Salad from Run Fast Eat Slow. I needed to clean and chop 3-4 red bell peppers, 4 eggplant and 3 fennel bulbs and get them roasting in the oven.

In the midst of all of this cooking I needed to get back to the store. Remember, I used all the lettuce the night before for taco night. Today, I needed lettuce for the sandwich bar at 3pm, and oh yeah I need Rotisserie chickens for dinner! But I just wasn’t sure how I was going to fit that in.

As the day went on I was bustling around the kitchen.  Getting to the store was becoming more out of reach. It would take me at least 50 minutes with the drive there, shopping and the drive back to the camp house. 

In the end, there was no lettuce for the sandwiches and barely enough tomato. But, We had plenty of baked blueberry oatmeal, brunch fixin’s and sandwich fixin’s along with snacks galore.

Live and learn…and take notes! On to the next meal…

Side note: As athletes gathered for lunch and socialized I learned that on their ride earlier in the day they biked up a fairly steep hill and then rode back down. Oh no big deal right? Don said he made it to 49 mph….ummmm excuse me? I’m just glad I knew about that afterwards.

Dinner – 5:30pm

  • Pasta
  • Rotisserie chicken 
  • White rice
  • Sweet potato
  • Warm bread and butter

Dinner was right around the corner. First in line, start baking the sweet potatoes. I also needed to put the pasta dinner together. Warm up the Rotisserie chickens that Al and Don picked from the store on their way home. Lastly, I warmed up the leftover rice from the night before and FOUR yes FOUR baguettes to go with dinner. We definitely had carbs on the menu!

Working in the kitchen at triathlon camp

Pasta dinner from Run Fast Eat Slow  Sweet potatoes

Dinnertime at triathlon camp

Dinner was a success and there was plenty of food. Although, Don did frantically make some extra rice.

A helpful hint: the day before I asked a store employee for recommendations on how much ground beef to buy to make tacos for 23 HUNGRY triathletes at triathlon camp, and I asked Don to do the same when he and Al picked up the chickens. This seemed to work well because both times we had enough. 

When it was all said and done we had just a small amount of leftovers. A little chicken, once Don picked it all off the bones, a few sweet potatoes, some bread and rice.

Triathlon Camp Food Nutrients

The foods served up provided lots of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats but also lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and fiber (but not too much fiber). No upset tummies wanted.

From the blueberries in the baked oatmeal to the veggies in the pasta and the plain sweet potatoes served at dinner, these 3 meals/foods packed a punch of nutrients. 

The whole idea of an athlete diet is to not just focus on the protein and carbs but to also focus on the vitamins and minerals that help your body run at a higher level. And antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your athlete body recover faster. Blueberries are a fantastic fruit that are king when it comes to antioxidants. Antioxidants work to help decrease higher levels of oxidation in your body from the higher levels of exercise work you do.

The pasta dinner included vegetables like eggplant, fennel, red pepper and a few odds and ends in hopes of cleaning out some of the veggies in the refrigerator like mushrooms, zucchini and squash. 

Did you know that red bell pepper is higher in vitamin C than citrus fruits? YES…that’s why there were bell peppers served with the hummus, bell peppers in the soup, bell peppers in the pasta dinner and bell peppers served in the cold salad served on day #4 (I’ll talk about that in the next blog). Vitamin C supports your immune system, keeps it healthy and strong during a time when you’re pushing hard with daily training at triathlon camp.

The variety of vegetables in the pasta dinner provided a variety of nutrients like manganese, vitamin C, potassium, iron, magnesium and fiber. These types of nutrients work at the cellular level to help decrease inflammation in the body so you can recover faster, play a role in metabolism of nutrients of your food so your body can use the food you eat for energy, regulate blood sugar so your mood is up, your feel energized and you can make good decisions when training and racing and help your muscles contract during exercise and keep from cramping and so on and so on. Micronutrients do SO MANY things inside your body.

So, can you understand how micronutrients (or vitamins and minerals and other plant compounds) keep you running like a high performance car? Would you rather run like a 1980’s Pinto OR would you rather run like a 2020 Tesla?

I think I might know the answer to that one!

How You Can Meal Plan Your Athlete Diet 

“Life is a Combination of Magic and Pasta” ~Federico Fellini

Pasta is the vehicle for all the goodness you will add. Like veggies, sauce, nuts, spices, herbs and more.

Prepping pasta for your meal plan can be quick and easy. Do what I did at camp, cut your vegetables before you plan on serving the pasta. So for instance if you plan to make pasta Wednesday night for dinner you can prep your vegetables on Sunday and properly store them in the refrigerator until then.

Better yet, roast them the day you prep them. That way all you’ll need to do is cook the pasta and whip up a quick and easy light lemon and herb based sauce and wha-la it’s done. Roasting your vegetables and letting them sit for a day or two allows those flavors to meld even more and really make your pasta dinner pop!

Let’s take a step back and talk about the Baked Blueberry Oatmeal…yum! This is a great comforting breakfast option especially after a long swim. This is a super easy dish to make (that is if you’re only making one dish at a time) that can be kept in the refrigerator and eaten throughout the week. It’s also freezer friendly, so you can eat half one week and half another week. It pairs great with a dollop of either a milk-based or plant-based yogurt.

When it comes to meal prepping both of these require baking time, I love that. It gives you an opportunity to squeeze in one more thing to prep while you wait on the timer. 

Having foods like these on hand makes it easier to nourish and fuel your athlete body. The other option is to come home hungry from a big workout and grab whatever you can get your hands on.

Make sure you stay tuned for one last review of triathlon camp…Day #4 and a half! If you didn’t catch day #1 or day #2 you can do that here.

 

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Dietitian Kathleen and Kona-Qualifier Don Oswalt

Welcome to Eat Love Triathlon! We’re Don and Kathleen your go-to dietitian and triathlete. Together, we’re here to share our latest and greatest tips, with you, on how to be a well-balanced triathlete with nutrition, triathlon and keeping harmony in your relationships. We’re excited you’ve stopped by, happy reading and don’t be shy about reaching out. We’d love to hear from you!